1 SD436859 From the car park (use the roadside if it's full), head north-east down the lane, through a kissing gate and carry on until the field widens on your left. Turn left with the fence to a gate which accesses the permissive woodland path; continue on this for 1.6km to a path junction and waymarker (beware – it can be a little overgrown and easy to miss in summer).
SD434876 Turn 2 right up a track as it zigzags uphill. Pass through a gate and continue on the same path up the side of a small scree-filled gully to the top of the woods. When the path splits by an old mine level, head left and follow the path along the wall to its far corner. From here, turn right up the obvious track through trees, eventually climbing to the huge cairn of Lord's Seat, the main summit, with all-round views of the Lake District, Howgills, Dales and Morecambe Bay to the south.
SD441870 From here 3 it's simply a case of following the same path across the top of the open limestone plateau, not forgetting to check in on the view behind every now and again! Keep an eye out for interesting flora and fauna, and tread carefully – Whitbarrow is one of the finest limestone habitats around and hosts a number of rare species, recognised by its SSSI status. The path you’re on undulates slightly, dipping down and back up again, passing some crags, to a stile.
SD446860 Cross it, 4 and once more keep following this path – you can see the grand Witherslack Hall, somewhat hidden at the start point, from the escarpment just past the stile. In just over 1.2km, with views of the Kent Estuary ahead, the path bends more noticeably to the right and drops you back into the trees to a gate. Go through it, but turn immediately left and back through another gap in the same wall. The path continues down, slightly rocky and narrow at times, traversing wooded hillside to a path junction. Turn left, soon crossing the first section of open bedrock, then continue until the ground opens out again in spectacular fashion with the highest cliffs towering above. This impressive landscape, home to peregrine falcons, has been created by glacial erosion and later quarrying.
SD460852 If it's 5 bone dry, you can create a circular route by continuing down to Raven's Lodge then heading right on the bridleway running almost parallel to the path. Otherwise, it's usually too slippery for words, so far easier to retrace your steps back to the path junction, then continue ahead and down, following the white arrows, to join the aforementioned bridleway. Go right, to the next track junction.
SD449844 The 6 bridleway ends here although, should you need it, the onward lane leads towards the bus stop at Mill Side. Keep right on the public footpath signposted Beck Head, which continues along the bottom of the woods. It then swings left past a farm, to a road. Go right, with tarmac becoming gravel, past another farm and a self-service tea barn. Fork left where the lane splits, and keep going to another road; a right turn here takes you back to Witherslack Hall.
Birch woodland on the ascent.